“Instead of always searching and grasping for more, gratitude allows us to appreciate what we have now. Cultivating joy requires building the gratitude muscle as part of our daily and weekly workouts. Only in this rep-set, we ditch the wishing, complaining and striving, and refocus on noticing what is going well in our lives right now, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.
Learning to be grateful for life’s simple pleasures can certainly improve your mood and perception of life. I recall a day when my kids were small and I was taking them to get haircuts. Once in the car, my two adorable, precious children proceeded to fight like two alley cats in a scrap yard. As I drove along and listened to this free-for-all in the back seat, I would occasionally interrupt with a “Stop it!” or “Enough already!” When that didn’t seem to be effective, I started to get annoyed and then, for some reason, amidst all the noise and frustration, I just gave up.
As the boys continued to yell and exchange insults at each other, my mood turned from annoyance to amusement. It struck me that these two little boys were not going to be young forever, and I realized how lucky I was to have these daily moments with them, no matter how stressful. This total re-frame of the situation filled me with gratitude and the rest of our outing was not just tolerable, it was fun. Gratitude brings us joy and turns what we already have into enough. Instead of striving for the next goal to bring you happiness, appreciate where you are right now. If it’s not your ideal place, remember that it's just one chapter in your life’s story. Keep in mind that everything changes eventually and you have more power to shape your life than you might imagine. Once you catch the gratitude bug, it replicates itself and even more joy streams into your life.”
Excerpt from Jodi Baretz’ Amazon best selling book, “Mindful Is the New Skinny.” Jodi offers individual psychotherapy and mindful mom groups at The Center for Health and Healing in Mt. Kisco. jodibaretz.com.